Governor Andrew Cuomo has been waging a war against puritans, trying to lift the last pieces of legislation in place to curb gambling in New York. No, he’s not going to so far as to propose full-blown casinos– though the $2,000,000 kickback contribution to his office from the New York Gaming Association, along with the $138 million revenue for the state’s education budget created by the Quick Draw game this year make it sort of hard to argue against creating QD casinos, like the faux-version spotlighted in today’s New York Times article.
But here’s the thing: Don’t do that. Please. I don’t want to be poor.
While Cuomo is trying to eliminate the bans currently in place that make Quick Draw and alcohol a no-go, not every legislator supports the Pronto Lotto model. According to the Times:
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz warn that the game a Brooklyn Democrat who is chairman of the Assembly’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, warned in a statement that the age change could result in a generation of new addicts. About one million New Yorkers have already been identified as “problem gamblers,” he said, noting that Quick Draw has been called “video crack.”
While “video crack” sounds like a fun name for a post-punk band, I am personally worried about its effects. You see, I am a scratch off addict. I buy a two dollar Bingo Doubler at least five times a week. I could have probably paid off my student loans by now with all the money I’ve spent funding New York State. And though I’ve never been a Quick Draw fan–the payoff is too long, I want instant gratification, specifically the kind that comes from realizing I have just thrown another two dollars down the drain–the idea of a bar where I can buy a lottery ticket and then drink until my numbers don’t appear on the giant, glowing TV screen sounds right up my alley.
And this is a bad thing. Because, as the article noted, the majority of Quick Draw sales come from Sunset Park in Brooklyn, a low-income neighborhood, even though the funds from the lottery are spread out across all zip codes. Also:
Anti-gambling groups have forcefully criticized the proposal, arguing that Quick Draw, like other forms of gambling, extracts money from the people who can least afford to risk it, while also fostering gambling addiction.
Although I do not live in Sunset Park, I can’t help but imagine myself in five years, red-rimmed eyes and a glassy stare, sitting in one Pronto Lotto or another video crack gambling bar, trying to decide whether to spend my last two dollars on a PBR or another ticket.
Though to be fair, I probably won’t need that beer anyway, so I’d be doing myself a favor. Right? Right?!?
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